Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951)

Abanindranath Tagore, born in Calcutta was the son of Gunendranath Tagore.Abanindranath’s first formal training in pastel, watercolour and lifestudy was underthe supervision of his private tutor, Signor Gilhardi. He attended the studio ofCharles Palmer, an English painter, for instructions in oil paintings and portraiture.In 1895 he painted the Krishna-Lila series, which display a unique blend of bothEuropean and Indian, styles. E.B.Havell, Principal, Calcutta School of Art, on seeingthese paintings was impressed and offered Abanindranath the post of Vice-principalof the School. UnderHavell’ s guidance he studied Mughal and Rajput styles of painting thoroughly.Abanindranath, the painter was established as the creator of a new nationalvocabulary in art and he helped to regenerate the decadent art and aestheticscene in India. The Indian Society of Oriental Art was established to promote theAbanindranath-style on the national plane. It was Abanindranath who ushered inthe modem art movement in Bengal. It was his brush, which first gave convincingproof that the Indian artist had his own contribution to make to the world ofpainting.As Bageswari Professor of Art of the Calcutta University he gave a series oftalks which were rare aesthetic illuminations; unparalleled in its simplicity andinformalism. His other books on art include Banglar Brata, Bharatshilpe Murti,Bharatshilpa and Bharatshilper Sadanga – all bearing the imprint of his great depth,profundity and simplicity. His prose has a distinctive quality – even the mostcomplex subject is rendered in a simple, unassuming style revealing the essenceof his genius.

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